J. Kelly Hoey

Dispatch from Auckland

Kia ora

I’m in New Zealand this week. Guest of the NZTE (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise) I’m participating in NZ8 an offsite for promising and high potential startups. The day-long session included 4 components:

  • Funding
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Talent
  • Networking

Here are some of the not-just-for-Kiwi-startups takeaways from NZ8:

“Don’t raise money if you don’t have to, if you can build your business in the timeframe and the way you want to” — Beau Laskey, Silicon Valley Bank

“Your CEO is your most precious asset.” — Chris Smith, CEO & Founder at Area360 (before recommending that startups take into account the cost of having their CEO unavailable for day-to-day functions before they start to fundraise — or not).

“Looking to hire, then be a leader and figure out what your leadership brand is today.” — Ben Anderson, Managing Partner Renaissance Leadership and Chairman, NZTE Beachheads Advisory Board, North America (on why leadership, not office perks or above market salaries, is the answer to attracting and retaining talent in today’s hyper-competitive recruiting market).

On fundraising and pursuing an idea, here are a few of Beau’s tips:

  • Do, or do not, there is no “try” when it comes to fundraising. Be dedicated and show true commitment to seeking investors.
  • Build a team (not much more needs to be said on this point).
  • Listen and be coachable (or as Beau added, you have two ears and one mouth).
  • You are the chief evangelist for your company — not your bankers or advisors — so don’t imagine you can delegate prime responsibility for pitching your business to investors.

On the non-startup side of the ledger, here are just a few of my NZ discoveries thus far:

  • Little Bird raw organic goodness (especially the Passionfruit and Macadamia macaroons)
  • Chia Drinks (getting my Omega 3 on)
  • Mac’s New Zealand Craft Beer

More to come next week — I have the distinct pleasure of hanging with celebrity cook, Annabel Langbein on Friday.

This post originally appeared in Innovator Insights, Kelly Hoey’s weekly newsletter. To get insights in your inbox, sign up here.


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